I’m going to give a bunch of information I’ve dreamed up about Sarah Dayson’s Seventh Fleet. It doesn’t matter, doesn’t change the book too much, but it does give me something that I can measure against when I write. Oh, the Stennis lost a shuttle? They have one less now, better mark that. It might come into play in book 3. Hard to say. By working out the details of the fleet, I’m creating not only their limits, but their assets.
Here is what I’ve worked out so far.
The Michael Stennis is an Alliance heavy battlecruiser. There are larger ships in the Alliance fleet, but not many. It is a “jump ship”, meaning it houses a jump drive that allows it and nearby ships to travel FTL. When the Stennis jumps, it takes everything within a 25 kilometer bubble with it. It is the responsibility of the autopilot systems on board the fleet vessels to station keep at assigned ranges from the jump ship. If a ship leaves the bubble, it is strung out over billions of miles as some of the ship is still FTL and some is returning to normal space.
A typical jump takes anywhere from 4 to 60 days, depending on how far the jump is. The singularity onboard the Stennis that warps space around the fleet is permanent, magnetic forces control the spin and therefore the warping of space around the singularity. This condenses space in front of the fleet, and stretches it behind. Is there real life physics around this? Not really, other than the basic concept of stretching and compressing space. It is based loosely on Alcubierre’s “Warp Drive”
My concept for giving the Stennis the super jump is that there are huge magnetic fields created by a nuclear explosion. The explosion just as the ship jumps basically hypercharges the singularity onboard the ship. The fleet is in warp longer than anyone ever has been before, and travels faster and farther than anyone ever has before in a single jump. The Stennis is a warship, so it (or the fleet with it) is equipped with all the materials it might need to travel long distances, stay on station for a long duration, explore, perform electronic warfare, fabricate their own replacement parts, function as a survey base, a space station, a hospital ship, etc. The ship is a jump ship, so it’s outfitted to serve as many missions as possible. When it sustains battle damage, it is often capable of repairing itself including fabrication of advanced electronics and structural systems. This repair capacity is often salvation for a fleet in wartime conditions.
Keeping in mind that it is the space around the ship that changes, and not the ship itself during FTL, and it should be apparent that the size and mass of the Stennis is irrelevant to FTL jumps. Everything in the bubble goes, so there isn’t a concern for size or mass as long as it fits. The same cannot be said for in-system movements. The Stennis uses fusion engines to move within a solar system, and as you can imagine that’s quite fuel intensive. There is the fuel for the fusion stream, and also the reaction mass injected into that stream like an afterburner on a jet. So the mass of fuel needed for the ship is massive. The fuel source is hydrogen, generally scooped from gas giants. Hydrogen 3 is diverted for use in the fusion reactors, and the rest of the hydrogen is compressed into a superdense state for use as reaction mass.
Michael Stennis: Alliance Shikiru class battlecruiser
Length: 942 meters Diameter: 117 meters, 2.5 kilometers with habitation ring extended, 1 kilometer with the radiators extended post jump. Crew: 860 (at the time of arrival at Refuge 545 crew remain alive, 311 male, 234 female) Armament: 160 electro-railguns, each capable of accelerating a .25kg ball of steel to 20kps. 12 unpowered 8 megaton nuclear bombs. 23 ARC missiles with 150 kiloton warheads 117 tactical warheads of various sizes, shuttle loads. Stores: 1 years of food and water leaving port. 12 months arriving at Refuge. (resupplied from Palino) Shuttles: 18 transport shuttles (6 atmosphere/landing capable) 6 combat insertion shuttles (all atmosphere/landing capable) Additional resources: 80 combat marines (47 female, 33 male)
EF2358: Alliance Hobar class escort frigate
Length: 68 meters Diameter: 11 meters Crew: 37 (at time of arrival at Refuge, 22. 7 female, 15 male, 15 crew transferred to Yascurra) Armament: 32 electro-rail guns, .1kg steel ammo. Stores: 6 months. Dependent on fleet freighter and jump ship for re-supply Shuttles: 1 transport shuttle, non-atmosphere Additional resources: None
Yascurra: Alliance Sabre class escort carrier
Length: 184 meters Diameter: 28 meters Crew: 104 plus 48 shuttle crew. All killed by radiation leaving Hamor by nuke that knocked the fleet off course Armament: None ship based, 82 10-50 kiloton nuclear direct fire missiles for the shuttles. 12 shuttles with single electro-railgun .1kg ammo Stores: 6 months, dependent on fleet resupply Shuttles: 12 fighters, with short range jump drives. Each carries one rail gun and up to two missiles. 12 troop combat shuttles, all atmosphere/landing capable 4 transport shuttles, 2 atmosphere/landing capable Additional resources: 48 marines (killed by radiation) and provisions for extended deployment of combat troops. Personal weapons, armor, and several armored and unarmored ground vehicles.
Amalli: Alliance Amalli class electronic warfare frigate
Length: 48 meters Diameter: 7 meters Crew: 12 (6 at time of arrival at Refuge, 6 dead from radiation) Armament: None, ship is fully outfitted for electronic warfare, ECM and ECCM, although much equipment is damaged from EMP at the Hamor battle. Stores: 6 months, dependent on fleet resupply Shuttles: None, crew is transferred via fleet shuttles Additional Resources: None
Palino: Alliance Condor class fleet supply freighter
Length: 247 meters Diameter: 62 meters at midsection Crew: 41 (20 at arrival to Refuge, 21 transferred to Yascurra) Armament: None Stores: 40 months of fleet stores left out of initial 6 years. Shuttles: 4 transport shuttles (non-atmosphere) Additional Resources: Stored supplies, food, water, armaments, railgun ammo, raw materials, clothing, medical supplies, biological supplies, tools, shuttle spares, electronic spares, etc. All undamaged at Hamor.
So 5 ships have reached Refuge. The only supplies they have are what they have with them, and if they can potentially resupply from the local population. Their adaptation to their situation is part of what makes the story. What do you do if marooned with limited supplies and complex and potentially vulnerable equipment?